Interview with Mr. Steve Jeisman, Group Director of Spa Alila & Alila Living
As Group Director of Spa Alila and Alila Living, Mr. Jeisman has 24 years’ experience in the global hospitality industry. He first started his career in his hometown of Perth, Australia as a young boutique hotel manager before moving to Indonesia to pursue his passion. Prior to joining Alila, Steve was General Manager of The Villas, Bali, a cluster of 50 private luxury villas where he also spearheaded the opening of one of Asia’s largest and iconic Spas “Prana” and sister outlet “Chill”. Since launching Spa Alila in 2006, he has been involved in more than 30 spa projects and developed the Alila Living Spa Amenities collection which is offered at all Alila hotels globally. Meanwhile, he also developed Gym Alila and Alila Living Retail boutiques for the group. SpaChina talked with him.
What is the positioning of the Alila Hotel and Resort Brand?
One of Alila’s strengths is our outstanding capacity in integrating the natural environment with creative and innovative design elements to offer guests the luxury of private designed spaces, customized services and unique destination experiences. “Alila”, which means “surprise” in Sanskrit, bodes well with the brand’s green credentials and the varied lifestyle options for our guests. Brand Alila is a champion for sustainable development and subscribes to EarthCheck accreditation in its operation standards. Our Leisure Concierge team at every Alila property, are on hand to deliver the Alila Experience where guests can select their lifestyle options in cultural learning, culinary arts, sporting adventures, mind and body wellness and couple celebration.
While most hotel and resort brands are competing in ultimate luxury in the China market, why did Alila choose a refreshing and natural brand positioning?
Alila started off as a green resort brand and opening our first resort in Anji gives us the opportunity to introduce the Alila brand values. Modern city life is hectic and fast-paced. Alila’s offers a new concept of luxury that advocates stylish relaxation, family bonding, community engagement and intellectual pursuits where you get to dive deep to learn all about that destination, its people and their culture.
Why choose to open mainland China’s first Alila hotel in Anji?
Location selection of an Alila resort, always takes into consideration the natural environment, local culture and customs, business potential and destination attractions. Alila Anji is a peaceful oasis situated on a hillside overlooking Tianfu lake, surrounded by the beauty of lush bamboo groves and tea plantations. It is the perfect location to drive home our green credentials and our commitment to sustainable tourism. Anji is China’s first national ecological preservation zone. Alila is recognised for our environmental operating standards which place us in good stead to manage Alila Anji. At Alila Anji, we are able to offer our guests, the perfect location for a real rural country experience. It is centrally located and well accessible from Shanghai, Hangzhou, and throughout Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, for a refreshing weekend getaway.
Who are the target guests of Alila Anji?
Guests of Alila Anji are mainly from Shanghai,Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, comprising small and extended families, couples and ladies. Some are middle-aged adults, mostly women executives and business owners with strong purchasing power.
What is the concept of Spa Alila?
Spa Alila skillfully combines the curative benefits of local natural produce with highly talented therapists and traditional heartfelt therapies. The Therapeutic Massage is one of Alila Anji’s signature treatments. It’s a complete body awakening with a combination of therapeutic massage techniques using fluent strokes of different depths and intensity, including long Balinese strokes to improve lymphatic drainage and circulation; Swedish deep tissue techniques work into muscles to relieve tension and stiffness; acupressure-point massage is used for specific stimulation, while Thai movements add elements of stretching to increase mobility.
What kind of spa programs tend to be well-accepted by Chinese guests?
According to our observation, Balinese and therapeutic massages are still quite popular amongst the Chinese market. And skin softening body scrubs and hydrating body masks, which are often packaged along with massage, are also in good demand. The physical detox from the day-to-day stress of life often requires more time to “heal”, so we are seeing our guests prefer a much longer spa sessions time during their stay.